by David P. Greisman
Caleb Truax was fighting in front of a home crowd, appearing on an ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” undercard, and hoping to impress. But instead of defeating Ossie Duran and continuing to work toward a shot at a top middleweight, Truax came out flat and wound up with a draw.
That brought the 30-year-old Minnesotan’s record to 23-1-2 (14 KOs). And it made Truax want to, well, make things right.
Truax spoke to BoxingScene.com on Jan. 9, reflecting on why he felt he didn’t do well against Duran, and what could come next for him.
BoxingScene.com: How many times have you gone back and looked at the tape of your fight with Ossie Duran?
Truax: “I watched it as soon as I got home on Friday night, man. I was disappointed and wanted to just go over it. That’s the last time I’ll watch it. I’ll watch it again with my coach when we get together to see what I can work on, but I’m disappointed, and I don’t want to watch it too many times.”
BoxingScene.com: Why are you disappointed?
Truax: “I just fought like crap, man. I just had an off night and couldn’t get anything going. And when I did, I couldn’t sustain anything. I just had a really, really, really bad night.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you have any idea why it may have been an off night?
Truax: “You know, that’s kind of what’s frustrating is I can’t really put my finger on any certain reason. There’s a chance that I might’ve dropped too much weight too fast. I did have a cold like two weeks before the fight. I was little bit under the weather. It kind of screwed up my normal weight loss progression. I felt fine at the weigh-in. I didn’t really feel drained or anything like that. I just didn’t have the energy and didn’t have what I needed to do to get the job done last Friday.”
BoxingScene.com: You’ve told me before that middleweight is the right division for you. Does what happened with this fight make you rethink that at all?
Truax: “No, not really. It was kind of an outside circumstance. I was a little bit sick, and that’s what affected my weight loss. Normally I make it — I don’t want to say with ease — but I make it without any problems or anything like that. But I’m definitely going to keep sticking around middleweight, and eventually I’ll probably have to go up to super middleweight as I get older. But right now, 160 is where I want to stay at.”
BoxingScene.com: Just to remind people, what do you typically walk around at?
Truax: “About 180.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you think that any of the difficulty you had in the Duran fight might’ve been because he was a late replacement opponent?
Truax: “I don’t want to use that as an excuse, man. I trained hard. I had about a seven-week training camp or something like that. We had about three weeks knowing that he was going to be the opponent. I had plenty of time to watch film.He did have a different style than [original opponent Derek] Ennis did, but I can’t use that as an excuse. I was prepared and ready to go. I just didn’t have it when I got into the ring.”
BoxingScene.com: How was Duran as an opponent? Did he have any tricks or certain things that made him a little bit more difficult, compounding things with what you were going through physically?
Truax: “He’s just a veteran, man. I was talking to my buddy about this. I kinda likened him to Jamie Moyer, the old pitcher. He [Duran] doesn’t hit hard. He’s not very fast. He’s not very quick. He just knows how to fight. He was just a vet who knows all the tricks. He had a pretty tight defense. And with my off night, I just couldn’t get anything rolling.”
BoxingScene.com: You said on Twitter that you thought you won the fight 96-94 but weren’t going to argue the draw. Why do you feel that? I don’t want to say you’re OK with the draw, but why are you accepting of it?
Truax: “I’m not OK with it. I definitely feel like I won it, even after watching the tape. I just don’t think I’m in the spot to do it. I fought like crap, man. If it was me on a normal night, I would’ve dominated Ossie Duran. The fact that I’m in this spot is my fault. So I’m not in the spot to argue, I don’t think. Just accept it and move on. I get tired of hearing everybody bitch about decisions and referees when it’s in the fighter’s hands. It’s not like I was robbed or anything like that. I felt like I should’ve won, but it wasn’t like it was a terrible decision that they scored it even.”
BoxingScene.com: So what comes next for you?
Truax: “I think I’m going to fight back in Minnesota in March, I think March 22. I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible, just to put on a good performance and get that out of my mind. And I think that going to be televised locally here on Fox Sports Net. And then hopefully May 1, again on ESPN, is what it sounds like.”
BoxingScene.com: Is it a rematch with Duran or potentially something else?
Truax: “I don’t know. It’s just the preliminary discussions.”
BoxingScene.com: Is there any interest in facing Duran again?
Truax: “I’d fight him again, for sure. I doubt that’ll happen. It’s up to my promoters and my manager to see who comes next. If that’s what’s going to further my career, further my ranking or whatever, then I’m all for it. I’d love to get that back and show everybody what I do on a good night. But I doubt that’ll happen.”
BoxingScene.com: Why do you doubt it?
Truax: “I just think if it makes sense, as far as making my ranking go up, like I said, I’d be all for it. But he was a late replacement, and he wasn’t the first choice to begin with, so I doubt we’d go back to him.”
BoxingScene.com: I was thinking that it’s a good thing that you’ve got a fan base in Minnesota, because that could potentially bring another ESPN2 broadcast from there and featuring you, so you could try to make up for what happened.
Truax: “I think you’re absolutely right. Like I said after the fight, there’s no room for off nights in boxing, and especially a guy like me who’s trying to prove himself and get onto the scene, I guess, and get on a big show or get on a big network. It sucks that there’s no room for error in a really unforgiving sport. But it is what it is, man. Next time out, I’ve got to impress, that’s for sure.”
BoxingScene.com: Have you heard anything, locally, as to whether they’ll still come out for you given what happened against Duran?
Truax: “Oh yeah, absolutely. It was a great night as far as Minnesota boxing goes, because [Mike] Tyson was involved [as promoter]. It was a much higher profile than my other fights. All the local media, the TV stations, radio, everything, were at the Target Center that night. I’ve already been on TV twice after the fight. Everybody is still behind me, that’s for sure. And most of the people thought I won and kind of thought I got jobbed, almost.”
BoxingScene.com: What else do you want people to know?
Truax: “I just want everybody to know that that wasn’t me. And I hope everybody will give me another look. A lot of times if you have a performance that’s not up to par, you get put on the backburner. I just want people to know that I’ll be back stronger than ever. I’ll learn from this draw. It’s not a loss. It didn’t kill me or anything like that. I didn’t get injured or anything. I’ll be back in March. I’m going to learn from it and continue towards getting a big fight in 2014.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]